There'll always be an England, people used to say. Now the emphasis is on used to say. Because one report after another from that once sceptered isle is less than encouraging. For years the talented Anthony Daniels, who also writes, prolifically, under the name Theodore Dalrymple, has been chronicling Britain's social disintegration. His reports from once jolly old England make it sound like something out of "Clockwork Orange."
Maybe it was his day job as a prison doctor that gave Dr. Daniels so sour a perspective. Let's hope his is a skewed vision. Because in this Age of Obama, Americans are being told to adopt policies that seem strikingly similar to the just rejected Labor Party's nostrums -- in everything from health care to taxation, political correctness to economic regulation, labor law to foreign policy.
If that's going to be the shape of our progressive, Social Democratic, oh-so-advanced future, let's get off this roundabout now and head straight back to the past.
Skimming a choice selection of headlines from the Daily Mail's website is not exactly a cheery way to start the day:
"A-level student, 17, stabbed to death at home in front of parents 'was victim of mistaken identity' "
"Soap actress left blind in one eye after being attacked with wine glass in bar row"
"50,000 British women warned their breast implants could explode"
"Council to ban the word 'obesity' -- so fat children don't get offended"
"Teenager who blinded man with her stiletto heel in drunken brawl is jailed for 18 months"
"Man suffocates to death after falling into clothes recycling bin"
"Nurse who told heart patient to mop up his own urine is free to continue working"
"Woman, 86, threatened by M&S security staff for eating biscuit in wrong part of the store"
And so depressingly on. Britannia, where have you gone?
Mark Steyn, who writes the back-of-the-book essay for National Review, picked out these headlines to illustrate Britain's social disintegration. His conclusion: "What strikes you about the peculiar combination of drunken depravity, random violence, petty officiousness and political correctness is the sheer bloody pointlessness of it all."